Mohadi raises hopes for Zim permit extension in SA

Zimbabwe’s co-Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi has raised hopes that more Zim citizens could get permits in South Africa, after stating that he will reengage his counterparts on the issue.

Kembo Mohadi
Kembo Mohadi

In late 2010 South Africa launched a special dispensation period, allowing Zimbabweans nationals to apply for work and study permits. This process resulted in an estimated 275 000 Zimbabweans being approved for permnits by the end of last year.

The end of the documentation project also effectively ended the moratorium on Zim deportations, which had been in place since 2009. Those deportations have since seen thousands of undocumented Zim nationals being sent back home.

But ZANU PF’s Mohadi, who shares his ministerial position with the MDC-T’s Theresa Makone, told the Chronicle newspaper this week that the documentation process should not be a one-off event because Zimbabweans are still crossing into South Africa on a daily basis. He insisted there is still room for reengagement on the issue.

South Africa has been reluctant to consider repeating the process, with the country beginning to clamp down on its immigration policies. Most recently, the government has faced criticism for appearing to be actively preventing asylum seekers from seeking protection in the country.

According to the Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) group, a recent policy change has made it mandatory for new applicants for asylum to produce an ‘Asylum Transit Permit’ when they submit an application for asylum at refugee reception offices, located in Musina, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town. These permits, despite not being part of the Refugees Act, are meant to be made available at the border.

But the LHR has found that this Permit is not being issued at the main point of entry at Beitbridge, potentially leaving hundreds of Zimbabweans at risk of arrest and deportation.

At the same time, police road blocks are also being set up in the Limpopo Province to screen the immigration status of all foreigners travelling out of the area. The LHR said that most asylum seekers have to travel through this province if they’ve come into South Africa at the Musina border. The group said that the police are arresting people who may be trying to seek protection as asylum seekers. These persons are then being summarily deported. – SW Radio Africa

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